Recipe: Ensalada de palmitos y palta (hearts of palm and avocado salad)

I make variations of this salad every time I cook a Peruvian-themed meal. What makes it Peruvian? The avocado, palmitos, botija olives and the fact that is seasoned with lime juice and olive oil. Serve as a side for pretty much anything.

Ensalada de palmitos y palta (hearts of palm and avocado salad)
Yield: 4-6 servings as a side dish

Ensalada de palmitos y palta

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of lettuce, leaves torn
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 3 radishes, sliced
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 palmitos (hearts of palm), sliced
  • 10 black olives (preferably botija)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • olive oil
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. Prep ingredients and place in a salad bowl.
  2. Season with lime juice, olive oil and salt.

Recipe: Lupin a la peruana (Peruvian-style lupin)

I get sudden cravings for Peruvian food once in a while. One day I was fixated on pepián, a corn purée spiced with our traditional aderezo of onion, garlic and chilli. Then I remembered I had a bag of lupin flakes in my cupboard and decided to use it as the main ingredient, partially because sweet corn is very different from Peruvian white corn. I used a ají amarillo paste that I found at Fiji Market. It’s got preservatives, so it’s not as good (health- or taste-wise) as fresh or as the paste I’m used to, but it’s better than nothing. If you can’t find ají amarillo paste you can use fresh chillies made into a paste in a blender or food processor with a bit of water or oil.

Lupin a la peruana (Peruvian-style lupin)
Yield: 4 servings

Lupin a la peruana

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil or ghee
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tsp ají amarillo (Peruvian yellow chilli) paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup lupin flakes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • handful coriander leaves, chopped

Directions

  1. Heat oil or ghee in a pan at low-medium temperature. Cook onion, garlic and chilli for 5-10 minutes, until very soft and translucent.
  2. Add lupin flakes and broth. Bring to a boil and lower heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Turn off heat, mix in the chopped coriander.
  5. Serve with your choice of protein, rice (to make it more Peruvian!) and plenty of veggies.

Recipe: Puré de espinaca (spinach mash)

This is such an easy and middle-class recipe that I’m almost ashamed of posting it. But it brings warm memories of my childhood and of food from home. Eat with roast chicken, burger patties, fried eggs… whatever you fancy!

Puré de espinaca
Yield: 4-5 servings

Puré de espinaca

Ingredients

  • 0.5 kg potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 0.5 cup chicken broth or milk
  • 1-1.5 cups spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Peel, cube and cook potatoes.
  2. Mash potatoes while hot, add butter and mix.
  3. Heat up broth/milk, pour over spinach in a blender and blend until puréed.
  4. Add spinach mix to potatoes, mix well and season.

Recipe: Salsa criolla

Traditional tangy Peruvian salsa to serve with… anything!

Salsa criolla
Yield: 6 – 8 servings

Salsa criolla

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion
  • 4 limes
  • 2 small hot chilies (optional)
  • salt
  • coriander leaves

Directions

  1. Finely slice the onion.
  2. Optional but recommended: soak onion in cold water for a few hours, then drain in a strainer.
  3. Add lime juice, salt to taste, finely chopped chilies (if using) and finely chopped coriander leaves. Chill in the fridge until serving.

Recipe: Cauliflower “rice”

This is my go-to side dish to serve with curries and Peruvian dishes.

Cauliflower “rice”
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
  • salt

Directions

  1. Chop the cauliflower florets coarsely, reserve the stalks for another recipe (or your Paleo dog!).
  2. Pulse the florets in your food processor until finely chopped but not mashed. You might want to do this in batches if your processor is small.
  3. Heat coconut oil in a pot or saucepan. If using garlic, cook it on low heat for 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Add cauliflower and sauté for 15 – 20 minutes. Season with salt and serve.

Recipe: Swede garlic mash

Here’s an easy side dish that goes well with anything you would normally pair potato mash with.

And here’s a mini-tutorial on how to deal with garlic in a quick and easy way. Refer to the numbers in the photo below.

  1. Separate cloves from the bulb.
  2. Chop the rough end (bottom end in photo).
  3. Split clove in half.
  4. Peel clove (this will be very easy now) and remove germ (that green stem in the middle, which is the cause of gut discomfort).

Garlic

Swede garlic mash
Yield: 6 servings

Swede garlic mash

Ingredients

  • 1 large swede (3 – 4 cups, cubed)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved (see instructions above)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or butter
  • sea salt

Directions

  1. Peel and cube swedes. Steam until tender, approximately 20 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, melt ghee or butter in a small saucepan on low heat. Add garlic cloves and cook gently for 8 – 10 minutes until browned but not burnt.
  3. Process everything in food processor, season with sea salt.